Last night I had a really meaningful conversation with my twin sister about the passing of our brother. You see, he passed away a few years ago – January 11, 2018 will be the four-year mark – and more often than not I live in a state of disbelief that he’s really gone.

We were frustrated in our conversation, wishing the old pictures we saw of him and of us together didn’t have to be blacklisted as “the last photo we took together”. To have a “last” of something so precious is always a tough pill to swallow.

“These two months are the hardest ‘stretch’ of time – every little thing can just trigger us to tears,” we said.

“It’s such a time of extreme highs and lows,” we said.

“I just miss him so much,” we cried.

Eventually our anger turned into exhaustion and we decided to say our I love yous and end the call. We still texted each other afterward, because a phone call followed-up with an “I love you” text is commonplace in the Costello household. We have a lot of love for one another.

And all of that love is what makes this two-month “stretch” leading up to and after his passing that much harder. We love him so much. Not loved. Not past-tense. Present. Love.

But as I was making a cup of coffee at work today, trying to get through this busy “stretch” of time right up to the holidays, I had that little light bulb go off. You know – the one that illuminates and shifts your perspective just a bit.

I realized that everyone has a difficult “stretch” of time in their life, and maybe even one that reoccurs the same time each year. Whether it’s the passing of a loved one that you just wish didn’t exist, those exhausting times at work where you know you’re burning the candle on both ends, or just adapting to a change that maybe you didn’t see coming.

We all have low periods of time that push us, bend us, break us, and make us stretch.

But here’s the good news.

When you push yourself to stretch amidst grief and chaos, good things are bound to happen. Because stretching results in improvement, refinement, and yes, even growth.




I would venture to say that it is quite unbearable, if not impossible, to navigate through the stress and chaos of this world without some help. And lately i’ve found that on the toughest days, ones where you’re likely too stubborn and resistant to do anything but wallow in your own misery, that’s when you can benefit from it the most.

Heaven knows that help can come in all forms: a friend moving you into a new apartment; family supporting you through a difficult situation; a coworker shedding light on a challenging project; a roommate doing the dishes; a mentor assisting you through a new career path; your significant other helping you find comfort in life’s simplicities, maybe even God helping you find peace of mind in things that you just don’t understand.

Try to be open minded and brave enough to ask for help, and on the flip side, offer it to someone else if they appear to be in need. Help shouldn’t be synonymous with weakness or vulnerability, it should be a symbol of strength and a true sense of self. Why carry the weight of the world on your shoulders when you don’t have to? Ask, and you shall receive.